For the Love of God, Poe!

Powerful Essays
It is not at all surprising that so many of Edgar Allan Poe’s works explore such themes as death, eyes, the power of the dead over the power of the living, retribution, the human conscience, and especially death and murder. From his disturbingly morbid short story “The Telltale Heart” to the mysteriously supernatural poem “The Raven”, Poe’s tales are a direct byproduct of the mayhem experienced in his life, as well as his (arguably) psychologically-tormented mind. Though all of this author’s pieces are very rich in elaborate themes, motifs, and especially fantastically blatant irony, one particularly stands out to me -- “The Cask of Amontillado”. This story recounts how a man called Montresor seeks revenge upon a “friend” who allegedly insulted him. In “The Cask of Amontillado”, the brilliant use of situational irony and macabre humor creates significant parallels between the plot and the author’s own strange life.

From the very first sentence, “The Cask of Amontillado” is absolutely saturated with both verbal and dramatic irony. In fact, even the title has an element of irony to it -- the word “cask” (which means “wine barrel”), shares its root word with “casket”, which means “coffin” (Cummings). Therefore, it is possible that the “cask” figuratively symbolizes Fortunado’s ultimate casket (death). Another notable ironic device used in the beginning of the story, is, of course, the name “Fortunado”. Though the name means “fortunate one” in Italian, Fortunado is anything but at the end of the tale, when he becomes the victim of Montresor’s brutal revenge (Cummings). Poe adds to the irony of Fortunado’s character by dressing him in a playful court jester’s costume. This outfit not only contrasts the horrid fate that awaits Fortuna...

... middle of paper ...

...d. Michael Meyer. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. 552.

Merriman, C.D. "Edgar Allan Poe ." The Literature Network. 19 Apr 2006 . Jalic, Inc., Web. 6 Mar 2010. .

Meyer, Michael, ed. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. 553-557.

Swenson, Tree. "Edgar Allan Poe ." POETS. 16 Mar 1999. The Academy of American Poets , Web. 6 Mar 2010.

Womack, Martha. "Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"." Poe Decoder. 08 Apr 1997 . Christopher Hallqvist , Web. 6 Mar 2010.

Wood, Kerry Michael. "Literary Analysis: Irony in "The Cask of Amontillado," by Edgar Allan Poe." Helium. 09 Mar 2009. Helium, Inc. , Web. 01 Mar 2010.
Get Access